Kitakyushu Bamboo Light Festival 2021

In the early 1990s, we spent three years teaching in Kitakyushu, which is on the island of Kyushu, the southernmost and third largest of the four main islands of Japan.

We made many friends during our time there, we enjoyed the rural life in Wakamatsu-ku, and our firstborn was born in Yahatahigashi-ku.

One of my friends, Kazumi Kawano, whom I met in Kitakyushu all these years ago, took these magnificent photos during the Kitakyushu Bamboo Light Festival.

The festival took place from 23 – 31 October.

The 30.000 bamboo lanterns on display were made by volunteers.

Kokura Castle 小倉城 竹あかり
Kitakyushu, Japan

Kazumi, thanks again for sharing your photos here with us. It is truly appreciated.

Sights to see around Kitakyushu, Japan

Some of you might know that I once lived in Japan for three years. That was in the early to mid-1990s. Besides having many fond memories and souvenirs of all kinds (including our son, who was born there), I also have some good friends there.

My friend, Yoshiko Harada, sent me these lovely photos today, and so the credits for the following photos go to her .

She attended the 6th Oktoberfest (held in April and May) in Kitakyushu earlier in the day. The timing for this month-long event is perfect: spring temperatures are very pleasant in Japan, and the rainy season is till a few weeks away.

Where: Fukuoka Prefecture, Kitakyushu City, Kokura Kita-ku, Jyonai, Katsuyama Park
When: 4th of April until the 8th of May
Opening times: 11:00am until 21:00pm

Prost! (German) Kampai! (Japanese)

Oktoberfest Kokura Kita-ku, Jyonai, Katsuyama Park

For more natural beauty around Kitakyushu, visit the Kawachi Wisteria Gardens (Wisteria is ‘Fuji’ in Japanese).
Tickets for the Fuji Garden can be bought at 7-Eleven or Family Mart stores.

Kawachi Fuji Gardens in Kitakyushu

Visit https://kawachi-fujien.com/ for more information.

Last, but not least, there is the Kokura Castle. I don’t think I have ever seen in such beautiful darkness.

Kokura Castle in Kitakyushu

JR Railway and Telephone Cards from Japan

In the 1990s, we spent three years in Japan and during that time, we often used prepaid JR railway cards and prepaid telephone cards. Now, 25 years later, I’m glad I kept them.

Kitakyushu University

Kokura Castle in Kitakyushu

Kitakyushu International Association

JR Kyushu Tobata Eki

April Cherry Blossoms in Kitakyushu, Japan

Thanks to my friend Yoshiko for contributing these cherry blossom photos taken in Wakamatsu-ku, Kitakyushi-shi.

Cherry blossoms

Cherry blossoms

April is my personal favorite month in Japan. It is usually warm and sunny and perfect for any kind of outdoor activity such as picnics, biking, sight-seeing, etc. I find the summer just too stifling hot with its subtropical climate. Try getting up at 6:20am and by the time you have started making coffee, the sweat is already running down on the back of your knees. That’s June, July and August for you in Japan.

Hanami

Hanami

I do miss this hanami (花見, lit. “flower viewing”) time in Japan. That’s pretty much one of the rare times you see Japanese eating and drinking outside. We Westerners like to sit in outdoor restaurants, such as bier gardens in Germany, but most Asians rather sit inside to avoid the sun (and aging). I personally would rather sit outside on a warm and dry summer day… and age a bit.

Mt. Sarakura, Yahatahigashi-ku in Kitakyushu-shi

Mt. Sarakura, Yahatahigashi-ku in Kitakyushu-shi

My husband is on Kyushu right now with three friends, biking around Fukuoka.

Cherry Blossoms in Japan

This is the time of year, when the cherry blossoms (sakura) are out, I truly miss Japan. This cherry blossom viewing (hanami) usually lasts for about 7 – 10 days in spring and you can follow the course of it, moving south to north, via every weather channel.

My friend Yoshiko from Kitakyushu has just sent me these photos and with her permission, I want to share a bit of this Japanese spring with you.

Before posting this, I went through my journals looking for entries made about hanami during that time. I was hoping to recall some special memories, but I only found one entry.

My husband, three-month old Thomas, and I were in a small park, where a drunk kept yacking at us while taking our photos. Unfortunately, this was the only entry I could find.

Another year, we were all stricken with the stomach flu and the third one was filled with mostly cool and rainy days. You see, memories are sometimes fonder than the actual experiences (when daily life catches ups with us).

On the two occasions, when I revisited Japan in 2008 and 2012, I got to experience hanami in all its glory.

Anyway, these photos below were taken on 20 and 21 March 2013.

Cherry blossoms in Japan

 

Kokura Castle in Kitakyushu

If you happen to read this and would like to tell your most memorable cherry blossom event in Kitakyushu to NHK, you can apply here. Deadline is 28 March and your entry needs to be in Japanese.